How climate change gave rise to a monster mosquito season

grist.org
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Thanks to climate-fueled extreme weather, mosquitoes are everywhere this year.
Summer may be officially over, but mosquito season is showing no sign of abating. If you're cursing the influx of winged whiners, save some vitriol for climate change, which definitely played a role in exacerbating this year's mosquitogeddon.

It was an unusually warm summer — the hottest summer on record for the contiguous United States — and that has helped mosquitoes thrive. But experts say the chief reasons for the explosion in mosquito populations this year are the season's record-breaking storms and above-average rainfall in many states.

Parts of the Northeast received a foot of rain in just three weeks in July, due to a series of back-to-back thunderstorms and the remnants of Hurricane Elsa. In August, Tropical Storm Fred and its remnants doused the East Coast from Florida to Massachusetts, and Tropical Storm Henri hit New England head on. Less than two weeks later, Ida soaked the Gulf Coast as a Category 4 and blasted the Northeast with record-breaking amounts of rainfall as a disorganized storm system. Meanwhile, in the Southwest, a "super" monsoon season eased drought conditions in parts of Arizona, producing Tuscon's wettest month on record in July.

Climate change plays a role in exacerbating these storms. The air becomes 4 percent more saturated with water for every 1 degree Fahrenheit that the planet warms. The most torrential downpours in the Northeast now unleash 55 percent more rain compared to the 1950s, according to the most recent National Climate Assessment, and could increase another 40 percent by the end of the century.

Unfortunately for humans, the abundance of mosquitoes varies massively with rainfall. The more rain there is, the more scattered pools of water there are across the landscape that the insects can use to lay their eggs in. This…
Zoya Teirstein
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